Jay-Z and his Roc Nation artist Yo Gotti are teaming up in an attempt to improve prison conditions in Mississippi.
The pair reportedly sent a letter to two top officials in the state on Thursday (January 9) demanding change. According to the Clarion Ledger, they also threatened to sue the state if prison conditions don’t improve.
A recent outbreak of deadly gang violence in Mississippi prisons has left five dead and brought the state’s long-running institutional problems under scrutiny and into the national spotlight.
The letter, which was sent to Gov. Phil Bryant and Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall, addresses the violence, but also the frequent amount of lockdowns, the shortage of staffing and inmates who "are forced to live in squalor, with rats that crawl over them as they sleep on the floor, having been denied even a mattress for a cot."
Yo Gotti, in a statement, called the conditions inside the prisons "absolutely inhumane and unconstitutional."
"To see this happen so close to my hometown of Memphis is truly devastating," he wrote. "That’s why we’re calling on Mississippi state leaders to take immediate action and rectify this issue. If they don’t right this wrong, we’re prepared to take legal action to provide relief for those that are incarcerated and their families.”
No one has yet to respond to the letters publicly.
Alex Apiro, a lawyer representing Roc Nation, signed the letter on behalf of the label and says he wrote the letter in collaboration with the artists.